Ansel Elgort is shifting his attention from the Upper West Side gangs of New York to the Japanese Yakuza crime syndicate in the first official trailer for the upcoming HBO Max drama series Tokyo Vice, executive produced by Michael Mann.

“I want to know the real Tokyo, what’s beneath the surface,” Elgort says in practiced Japanese. His character, rookie journalist Jake Adelstein, is subsequently brought in to cover the Tokyo Metropolitan Police and gets a frontline view of the street war between the city’s justice department and its criminal kingpins. Based on Adelstein’s 2009 memoir of the same name, the 10-episode show features an unflinching depiction of the writer’s experience during a 12-year stint on the Tokyo police beat starting in 1993.

In the gritty preview alone, we bear witness to multiple interrogation room head slammings, a man on fire, and hand-to-hand combat with swordsmen. The clip only scratches the surface, though, as it closes with co-star Ken Watanabe’s lead detective ominously warning the reporter: “Don’t write about this.”


Mann, the award-winning filmmaker behind groundbreaking crime thrillers such as Heat and Miami Vice, directs the pilot episode and serves as executive producer. The series also stars Rachel Keller, Ella Rumpf, Rinko Kikuchi, and Hideaki Ito. It was created by playwright J.T. Rogers, who wrote the pilot and executive produced alongside Elgort, Watanabe, John Lesher, Emily Gerson Saines, Alan Poul, and Destin Daniel Cretton.

Tokyo Vice will premiere on Thursday, April 7th via HBO Max, with the first three episodes debuting simultaneously. Following the massive premiere, two episodes will be released together each week.